Low Back Pain: Could it be a Spondy?

Low Back Pain

It takes place when one of the vertebrae, which are the bones that make up your spine, slides out of place and onto the vertebra below it. The majority of the time, a treatment that does not include surgery can alleviate your problems. Surgery has a high chance of being successful even in patients who have severe spondylolisthesis.

Spondylolisthesis is a disorder that causes the spine to become unstable, which means that the vertebrae move more than they should. A vertebra dislodges itself from its normal position and falls onto the vertebra below it. It is possible that this will exert pressure on a nerve, which may result in discomfort in the lower back or in the legs.

Is Spondylolisthesis the Same as Spondylolysis?

Low back discomfort might be the result of either spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis. They are related to one another but are not the same thing.


This condition of the spine is known as a stress fracture or crack in the bones of the spine. It’s rather frequent among younger players.


Spondylolysis can lead to spondylolisthesis if the slippage of the vertebrae is caused by a stress fracture. Alternately, the vertebra could move out of position as a result of a degenerative disease.

It is possible for the disks that are located between the vertebrae and the facet joints (the two components of each vertebra that are located at the back and link the vertebrae together) to deteriorate over time. The bone that makes up the facet joints really grows back and overgrows, which results in an uneven and unstable surface area. This decreases the vertebrae’s capacity to remain in their proper positions.

When a vertebra moves out of position, regardless of the reason for the movement, it puts pressure on the bone that is below it. The majority of people who have spondylolisthesis do not experience any symptoms.


Low back pain

The following are some examples of spondylolisthesis:

  • When a baby’s spine doesn’t form the way it should before birth, the result might be a condition known as congenital spondylolisthesis. The person’s vertebrae are out of alignment, which puts them at risk for slippage in later life.
  • Spondylolysis is the condition that leads to the development of isthmic spondylolisthesis. The bone is made more fragile as a result of the crack or fracture.
  • The most prevalent type of spondylolisthesis, known as degenerative, is brought on by the natural process of aging. The water content of the disks that cushion the vertebrae gradually depletes over time. It is increasingly likely that the disks will move out of position as they continue to thin.

Spondylolisthesis can also come in the following less common forms:

  • When a person sustains an accident that causes vertebrae to slip, they may develop traumatic spondylolisthesis.
  • The condition is referred to as pathological spondylolisthesis when it is caused by an illness or a tumor, such as osteoporosis or cancer.
  • Slippage of the spine that occurs after surgery is referred to as post-surgical spondylolisthesis.

How Common is Spondylolisthesis?

Spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis affect approximately 4–6 percent of the adult population in the United States. Because you might not have any symptoms, it’s possible that you could have spondylolisthesis for years without ever realizing it.

Isthmic spondylolisthesis, which is typically brought on by spondylolysis, is one of the most common reasons for back pain in adolescents.

Who is at Risk?

Because of the following factors, your risk of developing spondylolisthesis may be higher:

  • Young athletes (children and teenagers) who participate in activities that stretch the lumbar spine, such as gymnastics and football, have a greater chance of developing spondylolisthesis than athletes who do not participate in these types of sports. In children, slippage of the vertebrae may frequently place during periods of rapid growth.
  • Isthmic spondylolisthesis can be inherited, and in some cases, people are born with a thinner portion of the vertebra called the pars interarticularis. The facet joints, which link the vertebrae directly above and below to form a functioning unit that allows movement of the spine, are connected by this tiny sliver of bone. These parts of the vertebrae are more prone to fracture and slippage because they are thinner. There is also a significant hereditary component to degenerative spondylolisthesis.
  • Age: As we become older, we are more likely to develop degenerative spine disorders, which occur when years of wear and strain on the spine cause the vertebrae to become more fragile. Spondylolisthesis is more likely to occur in older persons, particularly those who have degenerative spinal diseases. After the age of 50, it starts to become more prevalent.

Low-Grade Versus High-Grade

Low back pain

Your healthcare professional will assign one of the following grades to your spondylolisthesis in order to identify the degree of severity:

  • In most cases, surgery is not necessary for treating low-grade (Grade I and Grade II) cases. Cases of low-grade spondylolisthesis can typically be seen in teenagers who have isthmic spondylolisthesis, and they can be found in practically every case of degenerative spondylolisthesis.
  • Surgery might be necessary for high-grade (Grade III and Grade IV) cases if the patient is experiencing a significant amount of discomfort.


It’s possible that you won’t feel any symptoms of spondylolisthesis at all. Some people have the illness yet are completely unaware that they have it. If you do experience symptoms, pain in the lower back is often the most prominent one. It’s possible that the ache will travel down your thighs and into your buttocks. You also run the risk of experiencing:

  • Hamstring cramps are caused by a spasm in a muscle (muscles in the back of the thighs).
  • discomfort in the back
  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness in the foot may be present.


One of the most common reasons why young athletes develop spondylolisthesis is because they overextend their spines. Additionally, genetics might have a part in it. Some people’s spinal bones are naturally more delicate than others from birth. This condition can be brought on in elderly people as a result of normal wear and tear on the spine and the disks (the cushions that sit between the vertebrae).


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